Amazing Lyrebirds Can Mimic Any Sound They Hear, from Other Birds to Chainsaws, Car Alarms or Camera Shutters

Male Lyrebirds, native to Australia, are considered the rock stars of the aviary world. These amazing creatures can imitate the sounds of at least 20 different species of birds almost to perfection as well as any other sounds they hear in their environment, from camera shutters to car alarms and chainsaws. And just like human rock stars, the lyrebirds use their best sounds to attract and impress the females.

Although beautiful in their own way, female lyrebirds aren’t exactly spectacular. They don’t take part in the imitating, nor are they particularly attractive. But the males put up an elaborate show, singing a medley of mimicry to attract the females during mating season. They even set the stage beforehand, by clearing a space on the forest floor and building a mound of earth to serve as a concert platform.

Later, they assume their positions on these mounds and the mimicry begins. As they sing, they spread out their handsome 28-inch long tail feathers, enhancing the performance a great deal. But the song is the most important part. The more varied the repertoire, the more attractive the male lyrebirds seem to their potential mates. This is important, because the females need to be persuaded to come closer to admire the pretty plumage. And what better way to do it than with a great song?

Lyrebird

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Wealthy Chinese Mother Rents Entire Mountain So Her Daughter Can Learn More About Nature

Money might not grow on trees, but it sure can buy you lots of them. Proving this point is a rich businessman’s wife in China, who has rented a whole mountain just so her her daughter can learn more about nature and the great outdoors.

33-year-old Gan Lin, a former teacher, now spends most of her time dreaming up innovative ways of spending her husband’s money. The family lives in China’s Chongqing municipality, where Yin Gan, the daughter, attends fourth grade at a primary school. Gan recently discovered just how little Yin knew about nature, so she decided to solve the problem by throwing some of her excess money at it. She paid a local council to lease a mountain, including a 1.3-hectare farm located there.

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Offensive Osama Bin Laden-Themed Businesses Are Becoming Strangely Popular in Brazil

Downtown São Paulo isn’t the most likely place to find Osama Bin Laden lookalikes. So when bartender Francisco Elder Braga Fernandes was spotted several years ago, he became an instant celebrity. His resemblance to the infamous terrorist was so uncanny that people couldn’t stop taking pictures of him. But this Brazilian Bin Laden is quite the opposite – he’s totally against violence.

“I am a man of goodwill. I can’t stand violence,” said Fernandes. But that hasn’t stopped him from using his appearance to his benefit. The 54-year-old decided to market his controversial image by dressing up as Bin Laden and even changing the name of his bar from ‘Barbas’ to ‘Bar do Bin Laden’. “This was great for business,” he said. “No one calls me Francisco anymore, it’s Osama or Bin Laden.”

Over the years, Fernandes has become a local celebrity and a tourist attraction. Al Jazeera has covered the story of his bar twice so far. Tons of visitors line up to take selfie shots with him, and when Bin Laden was killed in 2011, a Brazilian television producer actually wrapped Fernandes in a white cloth and put him on a downtown overpass, just to scare passersby. Another producer had him wear battle gear and walk on the sets of a variety TV show with a fake bomb in his hand. “I don’t usually do this stuff, but it’s what they want so I do it,” he said.

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This Guy Is on a Pointless Quest to Collect Every VHS Copy of the Movie “Speed” Ever Made

Ryan Beitz, from Moscow, Idaho, is a huge fan of the movie ‘Speed’. So huge, that he’s actually on a quest to collect every single VHS copy of the movie ever made. So far, he has over 500 VHS tapes and 26 laser discs. But it’s the tapes that he’s really after, the discs are just there to trade off for more VHS cassettes. Ryan also owns a 15-passenger that he plans to transform into the passenger bus featured in the 1994 film.

Ryan’s weird obsession started way back when he used to live in Seattle. He was super-broke and had to get Christmas presents for his family. At a pawn shop, he found six copies of Speed, so he thought it would be really funny to give them all the same gift. “I wanted to watch them open them one at a time and go, ‘Oh, Speed. Don’t we already have this?’ Somebody else would go, ‘Oh, Speed. Really funny, Ryan’. Then by the time you went around, everybody would have gotten the same gift from me. Then I could tell them that I love them all equally, you know? Just some bullshit,” he said.

But when he ended up buying all six tapes, he realized that it was ‘way too good’. “I realized it was really fascinating to have that many, like, copies of a thing,” said Ryan. “What really cemented it was when I went down to another pawn shop, and they had, like, 30 copies. I said, ‘I’ll take them all’. They sold them to me for 11 cents a copy.” Ryan hasn’t looked back since. He said that he has about 550 now, but he hasn’t really counted them because, ‘who really cares’?

Speed-collector

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Japanese Dress Rental Business Helps Men Feel Like Princesses

Mary Mariee is a Japanese company that rents out women’s formal wear. But they’ve recently tapped into a rather new market – men who want to be princesses for a day. For only about $600, the company offers men a chance to dress up and be photographed in elegant wedding attire or ball gowns of their choice. The special package is in so much demand that the shop has dressed over 100 men so far.

The shop, located in Chubu, central Japan, boasts of an extensive collection of women’s outfits – ranging from kimonos to white wedding gowns. At first, they ran a special package for women who wanted fancy photographs of themselves. But soon, they started to receive several enquiries from men as well. The response was so overwhelming that they decided to create an exclusive package for men. “We concluded that men want to feel like princesses too,” said store manager Hitomi Iseki.

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Woman Spends $15,000 on Plastic Surgery to Make Herself Look ‘Photoshopped’

Like millions of Americans, Triana Lavey loves taking selfies. But the 37-year-old television producer from Los Angeles didn’t really like herself in her Facebook photos or during Skype chats. So in 2012, she decided to get plastic surgery to achieve the perfect selfie look. Triana spent a whopping $15,000 to change the shape of her face. And that’s just the discounted price because her plastic surgeon is a family friend.

Triana believes in presenting the best of herself online. “Your social media presence is just as important as your real life presence,” she said. But she was not always happy with the selfie pictures she took. She would use popular iPhone apps with filters that gave her the perfect airbrushed look. But over time, she began to notice flaws in her face that she felt needed more permanent fixing. Changing camera angles didn’t work anymore, so she decided to go under the knife for a nose job and a chin implant.

“Ten years ago, I don’t think I even noticed that I have a weak chin,” Triana had said before her surgery. “That darned chin bugs the living daylights out of me. It’s kind of the first thing I look for in the photos – ‘how does my chin look?’ – which is really weird.” So she had an implant inserted into her chin at  Dr. Richard Ellenbogen’s clinic in Beverly Hills. The doctor didn’t stop with the chin, though. He suggested a few other changes like fat grafting and a nose job. Triana was convinced she needed them too and ended up spending $15,000 on her face.

Changing your face just to look good in pictures might sound extreme, but Triana doesn’t think so. She’s really happy with the way her face turned out. “I now have the face that I always thought I had,” she said. “I look like myself, but Photoshopped.” And she believes that plastic surgery isn’t just about getting an ego-boost. She thinks it’s actually a necessity in today’s world.

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World’s Most Expensive Restaurant to Charge $2,000 per Meal

The world’s most expensive restaurant is all set to open on the party island of Ibiza. Playa d’en Bossa, a major holiday resort in Ibiza is going to be home to the new Hard Rock Hotel. This exclusive new venue will include a new restaurant called Sublimotion, which is being described as an unparalleled gastro-sensory venture. Patrons will be served elaborate 20-course meals at a whopping cost of $2,000 per head.

The five-star restaurant, headed by Michelin-starred chef Paco Roncero, has an exclusive concept – to accept only 12 guests at a time and provide them ‘an experience for all the senses’. The menu, which is yet to be revealed, promises a ‘complete and unprecedented emotional experience’ to all the diners. “The dishes will cause a stir among the most neglected senses; from moments of humor, pleasure, fear, reflection and nostalgia, diners will be wandering through a world of sensations from the North Pole where they will enjoy a cold snack that they carve on their own iceberg or to the baroque Versailles where the elegance of a rose is sure to melt in their palate,” a spokesperson said. That does sound like a quite a ‘mouthful’.

The ambience at Sublimotion is also designed to titillate the senses. The spokesperson said that there would be ‘state-of-the-art’ systems that create a ‘vivid setting transcending human senses’. Roncero, who is considered to be Spain’s most famous chef, said: “We are very excited about the opening of Sublimotion and believe our guests will enjoy a culinary experience they’ve never previously encountered. We are so delighted to be working with Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza in one of the most international islands in the world.”

sublimotion-ibiza

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Big-Hole Golf Makes Putting Sport More Accessible to the Masses

Big-Hole Golf is a recreational version of regular golf that helps beginners and disheartened casual golfers enjoy a good game. As the name suggests, the golf holes are 15-inch in diameter, instead of the regular 4.25 inches. Golf purists may scoff at the thought of this, but big-hole golf is gaining popularity, even among seasoned golfers. They call this big-hole version ‘fast and fun’, which they say is quite nice for a change.

The concept of big-hole golf is very similar to that of regular golf. You hit the same number of full shots as in normal golf, which is the heart of the game for most players. The bliss and frustrations of the game are still the same, it’s just that you’re a bit farther from the hole. While the traditional format of golf tends to be slow and difficult for newbies, big-hole golf is a lot more exciting. The idea is quite simple: faster rounds, less putts, more fun.

Big-hole golf is said to be the brain-child of Mark King, chief executive at TaylorMade Golf Company. When asked why he chose to make the holes 15 inches, he shrugged and said, “It seemed about the right size.” To put the idea into action, TaylorMade paid another Minnesota-based company called Par Aide to manufacture 15-inch hole-cutters, coordinated tee markers and shorter flags to distinguish from other regular flags that might be on the green. The company then held an event as a part of the Hack Golf initiative – to solicit fresh ideas for bringing more players into the game and retaining the current ones.

Big-Hole-Golf

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Woman Says She Is Virgin Mary’s Cousin 65 Times Removed

Mary Beth Webb, from Murrysville, Pennsylvania, is making  some tall claims about her ancestry. She considers herself to be the 64th great-granddaughter of Saint Joseph Ben Matthat Arimathaea, who is considered to be Virgin Mary’s paternal uncle. So that makes her the Virgin Mary’s cousin, 65 times removed.

Mary has been looking into her ancestry since 2010, and it has taken her two years to spot her connection to Saint Joseph. Saint Joseph of Arimathaea is credited in the Bible for providing the tomb in which Jesus Christ’s body was placed after his execution on the cross.

The idea to research her ancestry came from her other bizarre ritual – speaking to the dead. When she lost her brother to cancer in 1999, she started communicating with him and also with her dead parents. Mary’s cousin was always the medium for these conversations – she conveyed messages from Mary’s parents that included details she could never have known about. Mary herself admitted that there was no way her cousin could have known some of the stories.

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Chinese Man Collects 5,000 Bras in 20 Years, Wants to Open Bra Museum

Chen Qingzu, a 56-year-old health worker from South China’s Hainan province, has a very bizarre hobby – he collects brassieres. In the past 20 years, he has amassed over 5,000 bras of various colors, shapes and sizes. Chen now wants to start a museum to display his entire bra collection.

Now, before you write-off Chen’s hobby as a fetish, you might want to hear his version of the story: “It’s my job to educate the public about the importance of health checkups, but my special interest is as an advocate for female health relating to their breasts and this was a good way of going about it,” he said. “Many women wear tight or smaller-size bras to show off their figures, which would do harm to their breasts.”

Chen said that most of his bras were donated to him by college girls after he visited their campuses to talk about breast health. He told the girls about the dangers of wearing ill-fitting bras and asked them to give him theirs. “Many girls thought I was a bra fetishist,” he said. But when he explained that he was only trying to promote well-fitting bras, the students were convinced and handed over their ill-fitting ones to him.

bra-collector

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A Sport Called Motoball – It’s Like Football Only with Motorcycles

What do you get when you combine football and motorcycles? The answer is Motoball, a motorized sport generally unknown in America, but fairly popular in Europe. As you can guess, it’s no dainty game. Right from the noise and fumes, to the daredevil stunts that players perform on their motorcycles, Motoball is a truly hellish, cutthroat version of soccer. The relatively unknown sport is largely played in Europe, where many countries even have national teams. Some of the best Motoball players in the world are from Russia.

A Motoball match is played on a regular football field, complete with goal posts. There are two teams of five players each – four riders and a goalie, who is the only one not riding a bike. The players on motorcycles chase a large ball that is 40 cm in diameter and weighs about one kilogram. As the bikers speed towards the ball, they stop the motorcycle with just one foot and draw the other foot back to kick the ball. The matches are officiated by two referees, assisted by two linesmen. A match is split up into four 20-minute periods.

The goalies stand in a red area that is marked as a driver-free zone. The rest of the grass, mud or concrete field is pretty much free for the eight riders to tear after the ball, at speeds as high as 65 miles per hour. Expert maneuverability skills and lightning-fast reflexes are key in Motoball matches, as is the ability to shoot the ball accurately from the motorcycle seat. There are a few rules set in place for safety, like no smashing, but that doesn’t keep the players from getting hurt.

Motoball-sport

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Year of No Sugar – American Family Goes Sugar-Free for a Whole Year

When Eve Schaub came across some disturbing information about the effects of sugar, she felt that she had to do something about it, for her family. She had read that sugar is the number one ingredient making Americans fat and sick. It’s because of sugar that one in seven Americans has metabolic syndrome, one in three is obese and the rates of diabetes and cardiovascular disease are skyrocketing. With this newfound knowledge, Eve decided to formulate a special plan for herself, her husband and her two daughters, aged 6 and 11.

Eve wanted to see how hard it would be to have her family go through an entire year avoiding foods that contain sugar of any kind. “Call me crazy, but avoiding added sugar for a year struck me as a grand adventure,” Eve said. I was curious as to what would happen. I wanted to know how hard it would be, what interesting things could happen, how my cooking and shopping would change. After continuing my research, I was convinced removing sugar would make us all healthier.”

So the Schaubs went on a complete sugar-free diet for a year. “We cut out anything with an added sweetener, be it table sugar, honey, molasses, maple syrup, agave or fruit juice,” Eve said. “We also excluded anything made with fake sugar or sugar alcohols. Unless the sweetness was attached to its original source (e.g., a piece of fruit), we didn’t eat it.” And once they started looking, they found sugar in the most amazing places: tortillas, sausages, chicken, broth, salad dressing, cold cuts, crackers, mayonnaise, bacon, bread and even baby food. “Why all of this added sugar? To make these items more palatable, add shelf life, and make packaged food production even cheaper.”

year-of-no-sugar

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Child Prodigy Aged 11 Creates the Most Amazing Nature-Inspired Drawings You’ve Ever Seen

11-year-old Dušan Krtolica is a child prodigy artist from Serbia who creates mind-blowing drawings of wildlife. The fifth grade student at ‘Laza Kostic’ school in New Belgrade first began to draw when he was only two years old. He has already had three national solo exhibitions to his name – the first two by the age of eight. Dušan’s drawings are mostly pen-and-pencil works of various species of animals, both alive and extinct. He draws prehistoric animals, birds, insects, and also legendary knights.

Dušan’s knowledge of the animal world is remarkable. He knows about all the geological eras, and which animals roamed the earth during those periods. He knows all the 65 species of marsupials and can effortlessly recite their names. And when his parents bought him the most comprehensive encyclopedia of animals, it took him less than three weeks to learn it word for word. “I would have studied animals and published a book about them, but I’m going to draw all of them,” said Dušan, whose ambition is to become a Zoologist when he grows up.

Dušan-Krtolica-drawings

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Behold the Aquatic Perambulator – A Device That Lets You Take Your Fish for a Walk

Seven years ago, when Mike Warren-Madden worried that his pet fish Malcolm was getting bored, he decided to do something about it. He spent weeks at the drawing board, designing a unique device – an Aquatic Perambulator – that would allow him to take his fish for a walk. The pram helped Malcolm live a more exciting life; he was probably the most adventurous fish to ever live in a bowl. Sadly, Malcolm is now dead, but the pram still works.

The Aquatic Pram is about four foot tall and made from laser-cut mild steel. Mike, a former sheet metal worker, has spent the better part of the past seven years tinkering with the pram, trying to make it better. With the initial design, he didn’t take the weight of the water into account. So he’s modified it over the years. “I’ve added better elastic to take the shock out of the water and I hope to get better wheels,” he said.

“Because of my background as a sheet metal worker I have been able to build this at little cost – but for someone else it would cost hundreds to make,” Mike pointed out. “I think I’d like someone to come forward and help me motorize it perhaps with a remote control.” He also hopes that an entrepreneur will come forward to invest in the Aquatic Perambulator.

aquatic-perambulator

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‘Giraffe Woman’ Wants to Extend Her Neck by Encasing It in Copper Rings

28-year-old Sydney V. Smith’s goal in life is to become a ‘giraffe woman’. For the past three years, the Los Angeles resident has been trying to extend her neck by wearing no less than 11 copper rings around it. The idea stemmed from her lifelong fascination with body modification, especially the tribal women of Thailand and Burma who encase their necks in rings at an early age.

“I’ve always had a long neck,” said Sydney. “In middle school, they called me ‘giraffe girl’. Then I saw pictures of the long-necked tribes in Thailand and Burma in National Geographic and I became fascinated with them.” That’s when she began to cut up coat hangers and wrap them around her neck at bed time. Naturally, her parents thought the idea was ridiculous. But she persisted, and she believes that her night-time ritual actually helped elongate her neck.

“After a few years, it became obvious that my neck was longer than the other girls, but not freakishly,” said Sydney. “So I stopped for a while to consider if being a long-necked woman was what I really wanted.” But soon, it became clear to her that she was quite attached to the rings. “I had missed the comfort from the pressure on the top of my neck and shoulders and had been thinking about doing it again for a while. The comfort and exhilaration of this process was really what I was after.”

giraffe-woman

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